'It has been a smooth ride'

Expat zone

'It has been a smooth ride'

It was four years ago that Mehrdad Hosseini, Salma Siadat and sons Borna and Nima, came to Bangalore from Sweden.

While the couple are originally from Iran, it was Mehrdad’s job as Chief Project Manager with Volvo Bus India, that brought them here.

Looking back, they say it has been a learning and blessed experience.

“It’s been an enriching journey so far. I have worked with people from different cultures, but mostly Swedes. The Swedish culture is very different from the Indian culture,” says Mehrdad.

He informs that people in Sweden stay in their jobs much longer and become experts in their field.

“They know deeply about their field. In India, people are experimental. They are high-spirited and are willing to do different things. I really love this feature,” he adds.

What he has also noticed is the open-minded nature of the citizens. “This is why people are not scared of trying out new things,” he says.

“I have to interact with people daily. My duty involves trying to use Indian resources and finding out what Indian market needs. We have a core team which is satisfied with the challenges that we face everyday and loves working here,” he says.

Mehrdad also admits that professional life is not without challenges. “People here have difficulty winding up a project. When I say I have finished a project, I finish it and will not touch it after that. Here, people find it hard to end projects. They are great at initiating and executing projects, but not at finishing them. Putting full stop to an assignment is hard here,” he says, adding, “But they are really enthusiastic to pick up the next assignment.”

He points out that it is hard to understand what a ‘Yes’ actually means here.

“When people in Sweden say ‘Yes’ if they have finished a process, it means an absolute 100 percent. But here people might be just done with 90 percent of their work. It’s hard to get a ‘No’ here, but I’m often puzzled about what their ‘Yes’ means,” he says.

Despite all this, he does not find it difficult to work with Indians. “There are cultural differences, which can cause conflicts and misunderstandings but it has been a smooth ride till now,” he says.

He also understands that people from different corners of India live here.

“But I’m not able to spot the cultural differences. My colleagues are able to say, who is who and where someone belongs to, but as a foreigner I am not able to identify the same. I think a foreigner like me will have to stay here for many years to understand the fine differences between the people,” he says.

Salma says that she is able to understand this culture because of her origin. “I like the culture because it is quite close to ours. I don’t feel like an expatriate because of this,” she says.

“I hang out with a lot of friends and we have lunches together,” she adds.
As a family, they have travelled to Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Pondicherry, Hampi and Mysuru.

“Comparing the places we have been to, I think it’s easier to live in Bengaluru.”

When the family has some time during the week, they also hang out with their friends in the gated community they live in.

“It takes a lot of time to reach anywhere because of the traffic chaos. When do we have some time, we love to go to the parks,” she says.

Their sons also have only praises for the City. Borna, who is a 10-year-old, goes to The International School Bangalore (TISB) and loves it.

“The school here is much bigger and international. The teaching is very different too. In Sweden, we would focus on one subject the whole day, but here we have different periods,” he says.

“The City doesn’t have just buildings, it also has a lot of greenery with lot of parks. Also, there are a lot of options for people to hangout at,” he says. 

His younger brother Nima, adds, “The City has the best weather, which allows one to play outside a lot.”

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